While there is an endless collection of applications that can be used in the classroom, this article looks at three of the most important tools that teachers ought to have. These are web-based applications that can be accessed from any classroom computer connected to the internet.
1. Prowise Presenter
This app improves student participation by enabling teachers to create media-rich presentations with text, annotations and images via a web-based platform. The presentations can then be shared with students who can view them on different types of devices, edit them by adding annotations and send them back to their teacher.
The application is freely available for basic users, with a small fee being charged for a larger file storage facility.
Wordle allows users to convert blocks of text into interactive word clouds that consist of words that have been used frequently within the text. The largest texts are usually the most commonly used within the submitted text.
Word clouds can be used in many different creative ways in reading and writing tasks. They are commonly used when summarising book chapters or speeches. They can also be used to highlight words and phrases in a given text. Children can also use word clouds to analyse their writing styles and identify words that they frequently overuse.
Padlet, originally published under the name Wallwasher, offers an excellent virtual platform for teachers to post short notes, much in the same way one would post items on a classroom notice board. Additionally, its contents can be shared with anyone within a classroom, school, or across the globe, making it one of the best collaborative tools.
In addition to text, it allows users to share videos, images and links to external websites. As such, teachers can use the features of this application to brainstorm within the classroom, administering questionnaires and surveys or for homework and posting class notes.
Padlet also allows the teacher to moderate a class discussion, such that answers from the students can be hidden from one another when homework has been administered through the Padlet forum. It also helps teachers and administrators to prevent unwanted comments from reaching the entire group.
Developers are frequently coming up with innovative software applications for use, thus, this list is by no means exhaustive. Simple websites such as classtools.net that incorporates a handful of tools and Socrative that allows teachers to prepare and assign questionnaire and quizzes continue to make the classroom more interactive. With updated versions of storage portals such as Google Drive and Dropbox, students and teachers will have access to more file sharing and storage facilities going into the future.